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Breaking Barriers: An Innovative Tool to Assess the National and City-Level Physical Activity Policy Development to Practice Disconnect

Eugen Resendiz, Andrea Ramírez-Varela, Juliana Mejía-Grueso, Jane Moon, Josef Mitáš, Ross C. Brownson, Deborah Salvo, and Michael Pratt

Background: Population-level physical activity increases are improbable without intersectoral collaboration across government levels and sectors to develop and implement physical activity promotion policies. This study aims to provide information about the development of the Interaction between National and Local Government Levels in Development and Implementation of Physical Activity Policies Tool (INTEGRATE PA-Pol). A framework was created to examine the development and implementation of national and subnational physical activity policies and the (mis)alignment between government levels. Methods: The work was conducted in 3 phases: (1) a scoping review was carried out to identify local government physical activity promotion policies and instruments for assessing them, (2) an expert group designed 6 questionnaires, and (3) cognitive response testing was employed for validity testing and item modification with a panel of research and policy experts. Results: The INTEGRATE PA-Pol Tool consists of 6 questionnaires assessing how national and subnational governments collaborate to develop and implement physical activity promotion policies. Conclusion: This tool can assist in better understanding the development and implementation of a public policy monitoring system that will allow for benchmarking and priority setting to comprehend how physical activity promotion policies are designed and executed.

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Assembling the Puzzle for Promoting Physical Activity in Brazil: A Social Network Analysis

Ross C. Brownson, Diana C. Parra, Marsela Dauti, Jenine K. Harris, Pedro C. Hallal, Christine Hoehner, Deborah Carvalho Malta, Rodrigo S. Reis, Luiz Roberto Ramos, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Jesus Soares, and Michael Pratt

Background:

Physical inactivity is a significant public health problem in Brazil that may be addressed by partnerships and networks. In conjunction with Project GUIA (Guide for Useful Interventions for Physical Activity in Brazil and Latin America), the aim of this study was to conduct a social network analysis of physical activity in Brazil.

Methods:

An online survey was completed by 28 of 35 organizations contacted from December 2008 through March 2009. Network analytic methods examined measures of collaboration, importance, leadership, and attributes of the respondent and organization.

Results:

Leadership nominations for organizations studied ranged from 0 to 23. Positive predictors of collaboration included: south region, GUIA membership, years working in physical activity, and research, education, and promotion/practice areas of physical activity. The most frequently reported barrier to collaboration was bureaucracy.

Conclusion:

Social network analysis identified factors that are likely to improve collaboration among organizations in Brazil.

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Environmental and Policy Approaches for Promoting Physical Activity in the United States: A Research Agenda*

Ross C. Brownson, Cheryl M. Kelly, Amy A. Eyler, Cheryl Carnoske, Lisa Grost, Susan L. Handy, Jay E. Maddock, Delores Pluto, Brian A. Ritacco, James F. Sallis, and Thomas L. Schmid

Background:

Environmental and policy approaches are promising strategies to raise population-wide rates of physical activity; yet, little attention has been paid to the development and prioritization of a research agenda on these topics that will have relevance for both researchers and practitioners.

Methods:

Using input from hundreds of researchers and practitioners, a research agenda was developed for promoting physical activity through environmental and policy interventions. Concept mapping was used to develop the agenda.

Results:

Among those who brainstormed ideas, 42% were researchers and 33% were practitioners. The data formed a concept map with 9 distinct clusters. Based on ratings by both researchers and practitioners, the policy research cluster on city planning and design emerged as the most important, with economic evaluation second.

Conclusions:

Our research agenda sets the stage for new inquiries to better understand the environmental and policy influences on physical activity.

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Parks Promoting Physical Activity: Synthesis of Findings From Interventions in Seven National Parks

Christine M. Hoehner, Ross C. Brownson, Diana Allen, James Gramann, Timothy K. Behrens, Myron F. Floyd, Jessica Leahy, Joseph B. Liddle, David Smaldone, Diara D. Spain, Daniel R. Tardona, Nicholas P. Ruthmann, Rachel L. Seiler, and Byron W. Yount

Background:

We synthesized the results of 7 National Park Service pilot interventions designed to increase awareness of the health benefits from participation in recreation at national parks and to increase physical activity by park visitors.

Methods:

A content analysis was conducted of the final evaluation reports of the 7 participating parks. Pooled data were also analyzed from a standardized trail-intercept survey administered in 3 parks.

Results:

The theme of new and diverse partnerships was the most common benefit reported across the 7 sites. The 2 parks that focused on youth showed evidence of an increase in awareness of the benefits of physical activity. Many of the other sites found high levels of awareness at baseline (approaching 90%), suggesting little room for improvement. Five of the 7 projects showed evidence of an increase in physical activity that was associated with the intervention activities. Multivariate analyses suggested that the media exposure contributed to a small but significant increase in awareness of the importance of physical activity (6%) and number of active visits (7%).

Conclusions:

Enhancements and replication of these programs represents a promising opportunity for improving partnerships between public health and recreation to increase physical activity.